The number of cases of measles in Limerick has jumped to 20 since the start of the new year, including one linked case in Dublin.
In an updated statement Monday, on the outbreak of the highly contagious illness, the HSE confirmed: “Nine cases have been children aged zero to five years, all unvaccinated, four of whom were admitted to hospital. Eleven cases have been aged between 15 and 34 years, all but two had no MMR vaccines, and four were admitted to hospital.”
The HSE said, despite the current outbreak, current statistics show the “MMR uptake at 24 months of age is 88%% in Limerick and is 93% for the Mid West”.
“An uptake rate of 95% is required for effective immunity within a population,” it added.
HSE Community and Public Health staff will hold a MMR vaccination clinic on Monday 5th March, 10 am – 1 pm, at Barrack View Primary Care Centre, Edward Street, Limerick.
“An Outbreak Control Team made up of representatives from the HSE is involved in managing the outbreak in an effort to prevent further spread,” the HSE said.
“The measures taken include active follow up of confirmed or suspected cases and their contacts, protection of vulnerable contacts (e.g. pregnant women who are not immune to measles and babies who are too young to have been immunised) and encouraging vaccine uptake in those who are not fully vaccinated through additional school and community vaccination clinics.”
“While the numbers of cases of measles in Ireland has reduced dramatically since the introduction of the measles vaccine, it remains a significant cause of death among young children worldwide,” the HSE explained.
“People most at risk of catching measles are those who either have not had measles infection in the past, those who are not fully vaccinated with two doses of MMR vaccine (in particular babies younger than 12 months who are too young to be vaccinated), and those with weakened immune systems.”
The HSE advised anyone with symptoms of measles to “avoid...where possible” presenting at hospital emergency departments.
“If it is necessary to seek urgent care, it is important to inform the ambulance service or emergency department that you have symptoms consistent with measles beforehand so that the appropriate precautions can be taken,” it added.